Buttigieg: 'Systemic racism is a white problem'

Presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg: We 'probably are' on cusp of recession Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate MORE (D) said Thursday that "systemic racism" in the U.S. "is a white problem," following a mass shooting over the weekend that authorities said involved a suspect believed to be a white supremacist. 

Speaking at the National Association of Black Journalists conference in Miami, the South Bend, Ind., mayor said the U.S. was "by no means even halfway done dealing with systemic racism in this country."

"I hope over the course of this campaign, you will see how I speak about these issues — not only with mostly black audiences, but with mostly white audiences," Buttigieg continued. "Because if there's anything we've learned in the last few days, systemic racism is a white problem."

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Buttigieg's remarks come as President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE faces scrutiny for his rhetoric following two mass shootings over the weekend that left at least 31 dead and dozens other wounded. 

Trump on Wednesday defended himself against accusations that his immigration rhetoric inspired the suspected El Paso, Texas, shooter, who shot and killed 22 people after allegedly posting a manifesto warning of a “Hispanic invasion.”

But Buttigieg said Thursday that issues involving race and gun violence surpassed the Trump administration.

"I think a president like this one is not even possible unless something is already deeply wrong in our country. And I think the story — the story in my region, and the story for my generation — reflects those deeper problems growing up in an era of endless war and school shootings," he said.

The South Bend mayor has struggled to gain support among black voters since he entered the race. A CNN poll last month showed Buttigieg polling at zero percent among black voters nationally.

He has begun speaking more frequently about race and inequality in recent weeks, especially after the fatal shooting of Eric Logan, a 54-year-old black man, by a white South Bend police officer. Last month, Buttigieg unveiled his "Douglass Plan" — named after the iconic 19th century black leader Frederick Douglass — which aims to alleviate the effects of systemic racism.